Diabetes and hormones are such a fun adventure. Of course you get the “warning” about hormones- and diabetes and your period as puberty begins. But like I’ve shared, there was never a warning or talk about other things that could come up- like PCOS and endometriosis.
Like I’ve mentioned, I feel like way more can be done. My sex education was minimal growing up in a small town in the south, and I really didn’t learn all about that part of my health until college. So I grew up thinking that this is how it is- the awful and debilitating periods.
Now that my burnout is fading away and in the background and because I still (thank goodness) haven't had another period, I’ve gotten more focused on “what can I do?”. That’s how I process when things happen- it’s how I deal with things and get closure. I’m going to cry about it, but eventually I’m going to “rant” and try to do something about it.
Regularly, I won’t shut up on the internet anymore, and I regularly bring it up in discussions and ask questions- especially of thought leaders in the community. I’m back on my advocacy “brigade” now.
A lot of things have bothered me about this experience, specifically two things: Dating/Value and Costs
These two new diagnoses actually surpassed diabetes for me when it comes to dating. It feels more taboo to me. I feel comfortable bringing up diabetes in conversations with dates- but talking about this… I’m at a loss. I definitely don’t feel the need (or desire) to bring this up on dates or in the beginning. But when do I eventually talk about it? And how?
The idea that I don’t want my own children hasn’t felt like a big issue to me- of course- it can be a deal breaker at some point. But for me, it’s always been “oh well.” I did struggle with wondering- how will the reaction differ when it’s not just that I don’t want to have kids, but that most likely I cannot have kids? Wait, I still wonder about this.
The reaction for sharing this with someone makes me nervous- I don’t want pity or judgement.
Even though, I don’t want my own children- when I found out I probably am not very fertile at all- I could feel the social norms impact my thoughts- that society would look at my value differently as a person- because it’s not just that I won’t “do my job as a woman” but I probably can’t. I hate that this thought pops up into my head- but will this be a factor in dating too? Gender norms and pressures are everywhere.
The other thing that really bothered me about all of this? THE COST. It already costs more to be a women- the unofficial “pink tax” and that products for your period are often taxed as a luxury item. Many people have added up the costs over a lifetime. (plus all of the other costs).
I decided to add up how much it would have cost me if I didn’t use a menstrual cup during my over 6 week period. The numbers and costs for a VERY heavy period that lasted over 6 weeks would have been about $175 dollars- this is just for tampons, pads, liners, and pain meds. I think it could have been much more because of how heavy it was- I would have needed to change my tampon or pad about every hour.
But then there are the costs that I had to pay anways:
- New underwear
- Pain meds
- Doctors’ appointments
- Going out to eat because I had very little energy to cook.
- I had to take time off work- sick days because of how awful I felt. And then reschedule things because of appointments.
- Then there’s the cost of my mental health- it really took a toll on me- especially because one of my favorite self-care methods was running, and I couldn’t do that
I also thought about other costs associated with this.
I used to be on acne medication and had to regularly visit a dermatologist.
Before I switched insurance, my birth control cost over $100 for every 3 months.
All of the extra shaving I had to do.
Then there’s all of the years of appointments and before I used a menstrual cup to think about- especially because of how long it took me to get here. I wonder how much I would have saved if this had been handled about 10 years ago?
There are definitely a lot of costs associated with endometriosis and PCOS, and it isn't just financial. It's dating and judgement. It's mental health and time.